You are here

Forestry - Sale of State's Plantation Assets

14 September 2017

Ms O'CONNOR question to MINISTER for RESOURCES, Mr BARNETT

[10.27 a.m.]

Now it has been confirmed that you are flogging 29 000 hectares of Tasmania's public plantation estate at a loss, and effectively sold all that land through a 99-year lease -

Members interjecting.

Ms O'CONNOR - Who will be here in 99 years?

Madam SPEAKER - Order.  The member will ask her question.

Ms O'CONNOR - Will you now explain to the House why your Government is selling public plantations - and the land - that cost at least $101 million to establish to a company that was only registered with ASIC two months ago, that has no connection to Tasmania and no commitment to Tasmanian jobs?  Can you also confirm this company, Reliance Forest Fibre Pty Ltd, has its parent company in the Cayman Islands?  We know you take your policy direction from former Gunns CEO and convicted criminal John Gay -

Members interjecting.

Madam SPEAKER - Order.  I have warned the House consistently all year about interrupting members while they are asking questions.  It invites debate and it is not allowed.

Ms O'CONNOR - Minister, we know you take your policy direction from former Gunns CEO and convicted criminal John Gay, but why are you selling Tasmanian public plantation and land assets to a shady company only established in July that has a parent hiding in the Caymans?

 

ANSWER

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question and condemn it.  The company has not even commenced operations here in Tasmania and this member is trying to denigrate this company and the fact they want to set up a management team in Tasmania.  It is disgraceful, grubby political behaviour by the Leader of the Greens.  It is shameful. 

Not only is she one of the biggest hypocrites in Australia when she wants to close down our native forest sector and put out of work thousands of Tasmanians, throw them on the unemployment scrapheap.  That is on the back of killing off the forestry industry in the previous Labor-Greens government when there were two out of three jobs thrown on the unemployment scrapheap.  She is now coming into this place to denigrate and defame an organisation and a company that is expressing confidence in the Tasmanian economy and our forest industry and is doing the right thing - investing in Tasmania. 

This is an international organisation.  Reliance Forest Fibre is a new enterprise owned by investment funds advised by Global Forest Partners.  Global Forest Partners is an international forest investment advisory firm with approximately 700 000 hectares of timber land across the globe under management, valued at around $3.7 billion.  GFP has a long history of sustainable forest investments in Australia.  They are already in Australia.  This is the first investment in Tasmania.  This is an expression of confidence in Tasmania. 

I condemn this grubby political behaviour by the Member for Denison.  I say she is a hypocrite and it is disgraceful behaviour on day one of such a positive announcement.